Want to Switch Jobs? Try 'Sculpting' Yours Instead.

Want to Switch Jobs? Try 'Sculpting' Yours Instead.
Image credit: Shutterstock
Reader Resource

Position yourself for growth in 2017—join us live at the Entrepreneur 360 Conference in Long Beach, Calif. on Nov. 16. Secure Your Seat »

Do you love your job? Do you wake up every morning excited to delve into your workday? While most entrepreneurs would argue they chose the entrepreneurial path so they could pursue their passions, let’s not kid ourselves. Not every job is perfect. After a while, those parts of your job that you hate can weigh on you, perhaps even causing your original passion to waver. Sure, jumping ship is one answer, but what if there was a way to target your energies towards the things in your career that excite you and ditch those that drain you?

Employment engagement consultants Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, authors of What Motivates Me: Put Your Passions to Work, argue making small changes to your job can help you fall in love with it all over again and reignite your passion. They call this process “job sculpting.”

Why Job Sculpt?

“In every job, there are things that frustrate us,” says Gostick. While no job is ever going to consist of 100 percent of the tasks that we love all the time, Gostick and Elton argue entrepreneurs and managers who are trying to keep energy levels high in their organizations need to find ways to do less of what frustrates them and more of what energizes them. Even altering “one or two tasks can be such a huge boon to energy and productivity levels,” says Gostick, who adds those who are the happiest and most energized at work are also those whose work best aligns with what motivates them.

Related: 10 Reasons You Have to Quit Your Job

The formula for job sculpting is simple: add, alter and delete.

Add new responsibilities that energize you.

What’s missing from your current workday? Are there tasks that you would like to be able to do that would make you feel more fulfilled? Adding responsibilities to your plate that you enjoy can give you a boost of energy that helps you to be more productive at everything else in your job. In their book, Gostick and Elton tell the story of a bank employee who mentioned to his manager that he was keen on public speaking. While there were no responsibilities in his role that would necessitate public speaking, the manager thought about the career days the bank participated in at a local college and asked the employee if he would like to staff the book and talk to students about how to build a career at the bank. “He was thrilled,” says Elton. “Not only did he get to do something he was really passionate about, everything else in his work improved because he was energized.”

Related: 5 Ways to Sustain a Long-Term Career Focus

Alter tasks currently on your to-do list.

Are there some responsibilities that, if only they were slightly different, would be more fulfilling? Perhaps there’s a part of your day that you love doing, but wish it could encapsulate more of your working hours? Consider the things that you truly enjoy at work and ask how you can alter your work schedule so that you can spend more time doing those things that you love.

Offload tasks you don’t enjoy.

What tasks do you treat like broccoli on your work plate – that you wish you could do less of or remove entirely? Are there members of your team who would find these tasks that you hate exciting? Often, Gostick says, entrepreneurs find delegating tasks to others difficult to do, likely because entrepreneurs enjoy having ownership and struggle to relinquish control. But, he argues, re-assigning tasks that drain your energies allows you to focus on those things that you love.

Have an open conversation with your team and discuss the parts of each of your positions that you enjoy and those that you wish you could do without. Gostick provides a personal example: “I hate doing the books,” he says, “but one of the members of my team said she loves doing that.” Realizing he could offload a task that was frustrating to him allowed Gostick to focus his time and energy on the tasks that did excite him and allowed someone else on his team to do more of what they enjoy, increasing the happiness not only of one individual, but two. 

Related: Why You Should Love Your Job...Your Real One